Harriet Sokmensuer
April 14, 2017 06:08 PM

The Tennessee teacher accused of abducting a 15-year-old female student needs medication for blood pressure, and investigators are hopeful he will surface to refill his prescription, officials tell PEOPLE.

Tad Cummins, 50, and student Elizabeth Thomas have not been seen since March 13.

“We realized after 30 days he may have to go for a refill,” Maury County District Attorney Brent Cooper tells PEOPLE. “So we hope people at pharmacies or medical clinics will know to look out for him now.”

Cooper adds, “He was very serious about making sure he took it every day.”

Investigators have said the pair have gone “off the grid” and that they may have fled the country to Mexico.

“[He] planned this in such a way that he had a 24-hour head start, easily enough time for him to make it to Mexico,” Cooper said at a March press conference.

Cummins has described himself as a religious man who has worked with children in the past, according to his resume, which was obtained by PEOPLE.

Cooper said Cummins could be using his background in Mexico or South America. “It’s possible that he’s playing the role of a missionary in that area, ” Cooper told ABC News.

Note for Wife on Day of Disappearance

The morning Cummins and Thomas disappeared, Cooper says Cummins left a note for his wife, Jill, while she was out of the house.

“He left a note at the house basically saying, ‘I’m going somewhere for a few days and I’ll be back,’ ” Cooper tells PEOPLE. “He left the note knowing that she wouldn’t be home until the evening. So that automatically gave him eight hours of a head start.”

Cooper could not comment on where Cummins said he was going but said it was not normal for him to travel alone or to leave his wife notes.

“They were rarely apart,” Cooper says of the pair, who have been married for 31 years, though Jill recently filed for divorce. “I think that she thought everything was as normal as could be.”

From left: Jill and Tad Cummins.
Courtesy Cummins Family


Speaking to PEOPLE on Thursday, Jill’s attorney Michael Cox says Jill was “completely taken by surprise” at her husband’s alleged abduction of Thomas.

In January, Cummins was allegedly caught kissing Thomas on school grounds and was suspended from his job. (He was fired after he and Thomas disappeared.) Cox told PEOPLE that Jill initially did not believe the alleged kiss had taken place.

However, Cooper says the accusation did take a toll at the couple’s home: “There’s no doubt that [the alleged kiss] was causing stress between them.”

A warrant has been issued for Cummins’ arrest on charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor — the latter charge stemming from the alleged kiss.

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From left: Elizabeth Thomas and Tad Cummins.

On March 21, Tennessee officials released photos of Cummins and Thomas at a Wal-Mart in Oklahoma City three days after they disappeared. Cooper says he was surprised that that the pair had appeared in public without being spotted.


Thomas was last seen wearing a flannel shirt and black leggings. She is 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 120 lbs. Authorities said she had blonde hair and hazel eyes but now believe she may have dyed her hair.

Cummins was seen driving a Silver Nissan Rogue with Tennessee license plate 976ZPT, according to the TBI. He is 6 feet tall and weighs 200 lbs., with brown hair and eyes.

Anyone with information on Cummins or Thomas should call the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND.

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